A study by researchers at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University and Instituto Superiore di Sanitá, Italy, provides the first experimental evidence that live zebrafish can be influenced by engineered robots.
The research – here’s the full journal paper – which was published in IOP Publishing’s journal Bioinspiration and Biomimetics, provides a stepping stone on the path to using autonomous robots in an open environment to monitor and control fish behaviour.
The robot is 15 centimetres long and spray-painted with the characteristic blue stripes of the zebrafish. During the research, the tail of the robot was mechanically controlled by the researchers to mimic the action of the zebrafish itself.
When placed in a 65 litre fish tank, the movements of the robot’s tail attracted both individual and shoals of zebrafish; the researchers believe that such capability was influenced by its bioinspired features which were optimised to increase attraction.
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